TORONTO — A new pest control company based outside of Toronto is among the first in Canada to offer the services of a certified bedbug-detecting canine. The BedbugTracker was established earlier this year as a subsidiary to sister company to GreenLeaf Pest Control, also based in Toronto.
According to Sandy Costa, operations director and owner, The Bedbug Tracker is the first company in Canada to have a canine certified by the National Entomology Scent Detection Canine Association. The company focuses much of its service in and around Toronto and throughout Ontario, but also travels to serve customers located across North America. The company’s bedbug-detecting canine, Tracker, purchased from J&K Canine Academy, alerts only to live bedbugs and viable eggs.
Costa, who is a NESDCA-certified bedbug dog handler, admits purchasing the dog involved several months of research as well as a large upfront investment. However Tracker’s bedbug-detecting abilities are earning the company accolades and new business opportunities. “Since bringing Tracker on board we have the ability to inspect rooms in minutes with unparalleled accuracy, allowing us to determine the approximate location of bedbugs that a human being or tracking device would never be able to,” said Costa. “We now do inspections for hotels and resorts, long-term health care facilities, schools, multiple dwelling units and residences. In addition we partner with local pest control companies to assist them with inspections.”
Costa notes that a well-trained bedbug dog should be able to identify the presence of a single bedbug. When considering whether to offer canine inspections, professionals should be sure that the dog is trained to discriminate between live bugs and viable eggs, versus evidence left over from an old infestation (i.e. fecal spotting, cast skins, empty egg shells, and dead bedbugs). “If the bedbug dog is unable to do this, it becomes much more difficult to distinguish between new or active and old infestations,” Costa said. Furthermore, Costa said, because Tracker is a single-scent trained dog, and has not been cross-trained to detect other scents, there is no confusion or ambiguity as to what the dog is alerting to.